Airport says improvements are vital - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Airport says improvements are vital

August 18, 2004

Albany-- If you've been to the Albany airport lately, you likely saw chipped paint on the walls and make-shift security screening areas. The airport is asking for nearly $16 million in sales tax money to make improvements.

Fire and police crews at the airport work under moldy and broken ceiling tiles and sleep in cramped quarters. "In my opinion, I think we should start from ground zero with a new building," said Safety Officer David Searcy.

Public Safety Officer David Searcy says the more than 25 year-old station is in disrepair. "It's cramped. We've got ceiling tiles falling out all over the place. There's water leaks. The water that comes into this station, to put it politely, I wouldn't let my pets drink it. We have a real bad water problem here," said Searcy. 

The airport is asking for $2.3 million dollars in sales tax money to rebuild the rescue-fire station, and that's just one of many building improvements needed at the airport.

"The terminal was built in 1952 and renovated last in 1990. It's been 14 years, so it's time to renovate again," said Airport Director Yvette Aehle. Aehle gave county and city commissioners a long list of renovations, including $9.3 million in the main terminal. "There's only room for one flight's passengers, so we need to double the size of this room," said Aehle.

The waiting room for passengers is too small and lacks a vital necessity. "A person cannot go to the restroom once they've cleared security and gone in this room because there aren't any toilets in here. One of are major improvements is to bring restrooms into that area," said Aehle. 

Also, the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, has little room to screen bags. The airport also hopes to improve the parking lot and build a rental car site across the street.

City and county commissioners will decide how much, if any, sales tax money the airport will receive by September 2nd. Then, voters will decide if the $0.01 sales tax will continue.

posted at 6:20PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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